Words: Princess Caralot / Photos: as credited on shot
There is nothing quite like being in a position to watch Tankwa Town disappear bit by bit until nothing remains. The landscape in which we hold our event each year is one of the most unique environments out there, and being able to watch Tankwa Town be dismantled bit by bit until it becomes the Tankwa Karoo again is a privilege reserved for very few of us.
The first year that I got to experience this was in 2014, when I joined DPW’s post event MOOP army as a volunteer. It was the year of the Trickster, and I was vaguely traumatised by the weird robotic rabbit (love it or hate it, it definitely made an impact) and I wasn’t quite ready to leave yet. I’d been volunteering through the event, and learned that DPW was looking for recruits to stay after the event to help MOOP. I decided to join up, without knowing what to expect, but with a willingness to do what needed to be done to extend my time out there.
So I packed up all my kak and moved to DPW. I found a bunch of humans that had all been working in the desert for around 5 weeks at that point. They were all ridiculously tanned, super strong and seemed to spend a lot of time staring off into the distance.
The first day I was there was a day off for DPDubs so I was put to work sorting out the Collexodus stuff (these are the supplies that we collect from people on their way out to sustain us for the time to come – ciggies, tobacco, whisky and tinned food for the win!).
The next morning we were woken up in the dark by what can only be described as a gong (I later learned that this was “Floyd’s Bell” – a hollowed out fire extinguisher that he hits with all his might every morning for the wake up call). We then all gathered round the fire, had some coffee and were given the tasks for the day.
As I thought, I was assigned to the MOOP crew. We drove out to the horn of 10 and work began in earnest. Sonica Spirit lined us up in MOOP lines…
We all got 5 litre buckets that had holes cut in them and a pair of braai tongs. These are the weapons of the MOOP army. We crossed the desert and gathered scraps of MOOP, “hippie diamonds” (the silly sparkly bits that fall off your faces and costumes on your way to the next jol), cable ties and stompies (oh, so many stompies. SO MANY STOMPIES. SO. MANY!).
Along the way we had singalongs, music, warcries (MOOP MOTHERFUCKERS MOOP) and more laughs than I could possibly count.
Every now and then there’d be a call over the radio from one of the heavy lifting crews that stumbled across Macro MOOP out there, whereupon special forces would be dispatched to go sort it out.
Stuff like this:
The signal for our day to end was when the sun was two fingers above the horizon, at which point we’d consolidate all our things, load up onto the bakkie and retire to the cuddle bubble where we’d enjoy our (mostly) ice cold crew beer and catch up with the rest of the desert rats who’d been in camp doing their work all day.
The next day? We did it all over again.
That year I only stayed for three days, the year after? I upped it to ten. That’s the point at which the crows pull in – super helpful when it comes to organic MOOP those critters are. The next 2 years? I ended up being the one leading the warcries 😉
Sound like a thing you’re up for? We’ve got space for you, we’ve got food for you and we’ve got trash for DAYS. Don’t believe me? Come find out for yourself.
See you in the dust <3
Interested in experiencing the Tankwa after the crowd has left? Ever wanted to work with amazing people, in a beautifully barren landscape? Step up and join our post-event Leave No Trace team – we’re always looking for willing hands (and can promise you memories and friendships that will last a lifetime) – click here to sign up!